Essay on Polar Ice Caps Melting: Causes and Effects

Free 750 words essay on Polar Ice Caps Melting: Causes and  Effects for school and college students.

The issue of climate change is no more the prerogative of diplomatic talks given the scale of destruction and unprecedented climatic disasters occurring worldwide. Polar ice caps are considered as one of the most vulnerable and concerning regions amidst the uproar over global warming. The threat over polar ice caps is not speculative but empirically supported by observations by global meteorologists, experts and most significantly NASA. To understand how devastating the subsequent damage to world in case of melting ice caps, one needs to understand the concept of polar ice caps in the first place. If all of the Antarctica melts, the rise in sea level would be by 61 metres.

Free Essay on Polar Ice Caps Melting_ Causes and Effects

Polar ice cap is the high-latitude region which is covered in ice. The only geological requirement for such configuration is that it must be a solid phase matter in the polar region. The North Pole of Earth is an ice cap over the Arctic Ocean and the South Pole over Antarctic Ocean. Average temperature is extremely cold. These polar ice caps are the major source of freshwater to the planet. Moreover, it has been estimated by scientists that 70% of earth’s freshwater is still trapped in the fresh water. Polar region receives the lowest amount of solar radiation and the climatic conditions are perfect to create the tremendous ice ecosystem.

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However, ice caps formation and structure are not a permanent feature, it rather keeps changing according to climatic structure, solar radiation, and geologic time. The frigid climate of North and South Pole are somewhat dissimilar such as in thickness of ice sheets and expansion or contraction of ice caps. It has been aptly estimated that melting of polar ice caps at an abnormal frequency can be catastrophic and could trigger polar tipping points. The high annual surface temperatures are now seen in distribution of ice, salinity, and temperature of oceans. Right from Kilimanjaro to Himalayas and Greenland, ice caps are melting with an alarming rate. Not just in the Arctic, but in Peru, Switzerland, equatorial glaciers of Man Jaya in Indonesia, glaciers are disappearing. According to the estimate of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), average global sea level has risen by 10 to 20 centimeters.

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Causes:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions especially in form of carbon dioxide that is a prime constituent of the entire climate change phenomenon.
  • Burning of fossil fuels that raises of level of harmful pollutants and carbon in the atmosphere.
  • The overall temperature of earth has risen dramatically and has now started showing repercussions in form of erratic weather changes, strengthening of annihilating hurricanes, effect on ocean currents as well as local climatic phenomenon.

Effects:

  • Rising sea levels is the immediate visible effect that directly threatens the island countries and coastal cities which could soon be seen inundated or completely destroyed in few more decades.
  • Changes in temperature and salinity have considerable effect on the ocean conveyor belt. There is a decreasing salinity in the subpolar regions bordering the North Atlantic. Scientists have warned that the effects of this polar ice cap melting that causes such changes could disrupt the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation.
  • Rise in ocean temperature can be another terrible consequence, as oceans are crucial sinks and absorption centers.
  • Polar ice caps entirely play a huge role in regulating the temperature of earth as the albedo of ice caps is extremely high. Hence, melting ice caps indirectly raise surface temperature of earth.
  • Some studies have even showed that the ice caps are now shrinking by almost 9% each decade.
  • The huge wildlife factor in these regions, predominantly polar bears is in jeopardy. Also, marine life would get severely affected disrupting the entire food chain.
  • The Arctic Resilience Report indicates that the effect of melting polar ice caps could be felt as far as the Indian Ocean.
  • The overwhelming change caused by melting polar ice caps could create climate tipping points that would irreversible effect on the surrounding ecosystem.
  • Arctic ice cap also helps moderate the ocean and air temperature which plays a key role in the global climate system.
  • Floating icebergs can be dangerous for navigation as well.
  • Exposure of offshore permafrost is a potential source of methane which is another persistent greenhouse gas leading to global warming.
  • Melting of Arctic ice caps would trigger the melting of Greenland ice caps.

There can be no alternative to a consensus on climate change cause and consequences. With a powerful country withdrawing from Paris Climate Agreement, it is important for world leadership to join hands and display an exemplary solidarity and cooperation in saving the planet.


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